Marina Bauer

Interactivity and physical perception are a prerequisite for Marina Bauer in most of her works in order to create an immediate, profound and lasting experience of art. Already in some of her first independent works, titled “Take It In Your Hands”, “Open It and Look Into It” and “Close It and Put It Back” (1994), Marina uses imperatives to invite the viewer not to limit himself by just looking, thus defying the usual gallery practice of perceiving art from a distance.

In her later works, “Memories I” and “Memories II“ (2004/2005), Marina continues with the physical engagement of the viewer. The experience of her works involves excavation of cement prints of objects from sand, or review and recognition of objects captured in silicone rollers.

“Introverts” (2013/2014), her award-winning sculptural-multimedia installation at the 12th Triennial of Croatian Sculpture, consists of white cubes/pedestals whose interior can be observed through a small opening using a camera. The translation of concrete material content of their interiors in the dynamic visual phenomena can be followed on-screen, whereby our own associations awaken.

In the work “Encounter with Ourselves” (2016), Marina expands the sphere of her sculptural interest in interactivity from hand-material connection to the body-material-space connection. In these specific, more or less cramped spaces, isolated from all other stimuli, we are encouraged to stop and be alone with ourselves for a little while.

The artist recently established a practice of conducting targeted interviews using focus groups with the visitors of the exhibition. By conducting these interviews, she wants to deepen her understanding of the experience of art, and the role of the physical perception in the experience, which is also the topic of her artistic PhD research.

From the text by Hana Lukas-Midžić, 2016
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Vita
Marina Bauer (Croatia, 1972) graduated in 1998 from the Department of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Zagreb, Croatia.
She has been present on the art scene since the mid-1990s. From 2002 to 2016 she taught sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Zagreb, Department of Sculpture and Art Education. Since 2016, at the same Academy, she has been teaching the course Introduction to the Psychology of Art as an adjunct assistant professor, and is preparing a doctoral thesis "Bodily perception in the Experience of Sculpture".
She is the author of several public site-specific installations - Traces, Delnice (2018); Habitat, Kornica, Bosnia and Herzegovina (2017); Lying Figure, Sculpture Park in Jakovlje (2007); Doors, Montraker Sculpture Park in Vrsar (1994) and the sculpture of Ancient Sleeper I, Ancient Sleeper II and Footprints within LandArt - Park and Au Schloss Gleinstätten in Austria (2005).
She was included in the exhibition Contemporary Croatian Sculpture, which was presented in several European cities from 2009 to 2011.
She lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia.
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Exhibitions
2019 Delving, Contemporary Artists in the Permanent Exhibition of the Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb, Croatia
2017                   Place, interactive sculptural installation, Gallery Događanja, Zagreb

2016                    Encounter with Ourselves, interactive sculptural installation, Gallery SC, Zagreb

2014                    Introverts, interactive sculptural-multimedia installation and digital prints, Gallery MH, Zagreb

2013                    Introverts, interactive sculptural-multimedia installation, Gallery ZILIK, Karlovac

2006                    Elementaria, Labin City Gallery, Labin (with B. D. Matasić and M. Mezak)             

2006                    Portraits, Croatian State Archives, Zagreb (with S. Martinović)

2005                    Memories II, interactive installation, Sv. Krševan Gallery, Šibenik

2005                    Perspectives to past and future, interactive installation, Stadtmuseum Graz, Austria

2004                    Memories, interactive installation, Kazamat Gallery, Osijek

2004                    Memories II, interactive installation, Izidor Kršnjavi Gallery, Zagreb

2000                    Getting Started Guide, installation in the Juraj Klović Gallery, Rijeka

1999                    Sculptures, Nova Gallery, Zagreb

1996                    The Wave, sculptural installation, SC Gallery, Zagreb
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Publications
The Importance of Contactus in Marina Bauer’s Work

by Jasmina Fučkan, November 2019

Marina Bauer is a sculptor whose work, although appreciating the traditional sculptural conversations with material through the formal language of forms, is mostly governed by the instinct to explore the possibility of establishing closer communication with the observer. Although this seems like a clear and simple process, the communicativeness of sculpture requires much more from the observer than their mere visual commitment, because active viewing requires moving around, testing the views from different perspectives, and by doing so, the observer outlines the choreography of an artistic experience. Besides just standing or being there, a sculpture should primarily happen through the interplay of individual human experience of physical space and its exploration.
In her work to date, along the lines of such thinking, Marina Bauer has built a recognisable, although not predictable method of developing an interactive relationship with the audience, creating her works as foundations for the process of reinforcing physical contact and initiating a self-reflective questioning of perception.
Since creating her first solo works as a student in the 1990s, symbolically titled “Uzmite me u ruke“/“Take Me in Your Hands“, “Otvorite i pogledajte“/“Open and Look“ and “Vratite sklopljeno“/“Return Assembled“ she has been arguing that sculptural objects are not objects per se, but participants in the dynamic interaction of the physical world predisposed for some kind of order to communicate and stimulate cognitive experience.
Later works, such as the sedimented prints of objects in the installations Sjećanje /Memories I) (2004) and Sjećanje II/Memories II (2004/05) are characterised by the abolition of physical distance and shifting the focus from visual to tactile dimension of experiencing volume and space, which in Marina Bauer’s works also bear the message of relocating semantic capacities from the zone of direct perception to the hidden inner zone, to the silence of intuitive perception from which they originate. The process of semantic strengthening of an invisible space in hidden depth reached its peak in a paradigmatic work, a multimedia interactive installation titled Introverti/Introverts, for which the artists was awarded at the 12th Triennial of Croatian Statuary (2015). The installation was composed of six uniform, white pedestals, the interior of which could be seen using a small camera. Her recent works, such as the installations Mjesto/Place, 2017 or Sam/a sa sobom/Encounter with Ourselves, 2016, were conceptualised as triggers for multimodal perception, the full realisation and manifestation of which depended on the willingness of the visitor to physically experience the possibilities of moving through or being in them, which besides requiring physical participation, also aroused the layers of subconsciousness.
When it comes to Marina Bauer’s works in the field of Land Art, so far she has worked in natural rock (Vrata/The Doors, 1994, Sculpture Park Montraker in Vrsar), has created water installations (Buć!/Plop!, 2003, Maksimir Park) and installations for the Sculpture Park in Jakovlje (Ležeća figura/Lying Figure, 2007) and she also participated in the LandArt-Park und Au Schloss Gleinstätten in Austria (Praspavač I/Ancient Sleeper I, Praspavač II/Ancient Sleeper II and Stope/Footprints, 2005). Anthropomorphic park installations (Ležeća figura/Lying Figure, 2007; Praspavač I/Ancient Sleeper I, Praspavač II/Ancient Sleeper II, 2005) are perhaps the clearest examples of Marina’s understanding of the message of sculpture in public space. The grandiose anthropomorphic figure (a god, ruler, hero, athlete) is a privileged and archetypal iconic companion to the notion of sculpture in public space and its history. Marina’s figures of ancient giants covered in vegetation, partly buried in the ground, thus mysteriously strong and motionless, asleep on the belly of the earth, represent the very act of grounding the idea of superiority of humans. The buried forms leave the observers with merely recognisable anatomical fragments integrated with the soil, with only the aluminium feet peeking out from the grass bed. The idea of a recognisably human physical body, represented as a horticultural fragment of the landscape, points to the characteristics of physicality as the symbol of the connection of all natural elements in a single living community.
Playing with anthropomorphic motifs in the context of process and performative practices is not an exhausted artistic task for Marina Bauer, as demonstrated by her recent collaboration with the dancer and choreographer Zrinka Šimičić Mihanović on the project “Izvedba koja se dira“/“Performance to Be Touched“. The performance that involved active audience participation had a dramaturgical flow with marked stations and thematic tasks, and it was located in the courtyard of the Department of Art Education of the Academy of Fine Arts in Jabukovac. This project of performative character was developed spontaneously as a kind of challenge for the visitors to shift from the usual pattern of automated movement and everyday inertia of perception and to dare to listen to the body’s reactions to, for example, guided movement with a blindfold over their eyes through the elements of natural environment or walking barefoot on different surfaces (sand, clay, wool, coal…). Marina Bauer created the installation, i.e. a series of silhouettes of human figures in frozen movement, which acted as a framework for the visitors’ movement and the entrance door to the dimension of conscious movement. And before we confuse these forms, due to their simplicity, with playground equipment in a children’s park, with which they do share their ludic origins, let us reflect on the specifically sculptural problem we are faced with here. Enthusiastic infatuation with the idea of movement is a well-known passion of sculpture, which has often directed its development towards technological experiments, and which has been achieved in mobiles, kinaesthetic sculptures, luminoplastics, etc. What is utterly intriguing about Marina’s idea of providing frames as suggestions for movements is that these frames were designed in such a way — with their inclinations in all directions — that they were adapted to the three-dimensional movements and therefore could easily be seen by the visitors as the order to reproduce the pattern, and then also as an incentive to explore possible movements in different variations. Employing a simple technique, minimal means and no additional technological support created a twist, which might had been the potential dream of sculpture from its beginnings. Within the unbounded spatial field, a clearly outlined conceptual space was created, intended for the arbitrary play of volumes of variable dimensions, with a clearly defined centre of events and an inclination from which the orbit of potential movement could originate.
To contemporary viewers and visitors of artistic performances it might sometimes seem that sculptural works can easily blend with the environment filled with other functional or non-functional objects that oversaturate us; indeed, many of them seem to lack the character of “real, independent works“. However, this fragmentariness is an expression of a fluid charm of art, which will always manage to find a way to make us understand our own role in the world. Given the spatial dimension in which all the events and their consequences occur and manifest, Marina’s work might not be fully understandable in terms of conceptual relations of external form and volume in space, but from understanding the idea of a symbolic place, which can only be activated through the expression of an individual will for a ludic happening.



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Awards
Award on the 12th Triennial of Croatian Sculpture in 2015

Rector's prize of the University of Zagreb in 1993
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Group Exhibitions
(selected)

2018                    XIII. Triennial of Croatian Sculpture, Glyptotheque of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb, Croatia

2015                    XII. Triennial of Croatian Sculpture, Glyptotheque of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb, Croatia

2011                    From sculpture to confession: selfportrait-authobiography, concept Ive Šimat Banov, Klovićevi dvori Gallery, Zagreb

2009 to 2011       Contemporary Croatian Sculpture, organised by Ministry of Culture, presented in Vienna, Berlin, Bratislava, Trieste, Budapest, Pécs, Ljubljana

2007                    Zagreb Salon, Croatian Association of Artists Gallery, Zagreb

2006                    IX. Triennial of Croatian Sculpture, Gliptoteka HAZU, Zagreb

2005                    LandArt-Park und Au Schloss Gleinstätten, Gleinstätten, Austria

2004                    27th Youth Salon, Croatian Association of Artists Gallery, Zagreb

2003                    VIII. Triennial of Croatian Sculpture, Gliptoteka HAZU, Zagreb

2002                    Live Coal: Ashes, City Museum Bjelovar, Bjelovar

2000                    VII. Triennial of Croatian Sculpture, Gliptoteka HAZU, Zagreb

1999                    Free Objects, Stadtmuseum Graz, Austria

1997                    Young Mediterranean Artists Biennial, Modern Gallery, Rijeka

1995                    30. Zagreb Salon, Klovićevi dvori Gallery, Zagreb

1994                    V. Triennial of Croatian Sculpture, Gliptoteka, Zagreb
Memories II
interactive sculptural installation by Marina Bauer, 3 sandboxes with cement casts of objects, photos and texts
Marina Bauer, Installation
Encounter with Ourselves
interactive sculptural installation by Marina Bauer, 6 gypsum board construction boxes
Marina Bauer, Installation
Introverts
interactive sculptural-multimedia installation by Marina Bauer
Marina Bauer, Mixed Media, Installation
Memories I
interactive sculptural-multimedia installation by Marina Bauer
Marina Bauer, Mixed Media, Installation
The Doors
Sculpture Park Montraker, Vrsar, Istria
Marina Bauer, Stein
Lying figure
Sculpture Park Jakovlje, Croatia
Marina Bauer, Installation
Ancient Sleepers
LandArt Park und Au Schloss Gleinstaetten, Austria
Marina Bauer, Naturstoffe
Place
interactive sculptural installation by Marina Bauer, (gypsum board construction, rubber bands)
Marina Bauer, Installation
Delving
object with drawers by Marina Bauer, combined technique (acrystalline, chipboard, various materials and objects)
Marina Bauer


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